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Helstar - Sins Of The Past (CD)

Helstar
Sins Of The Past
by Grigoris Chronis at 13 November 2007, 10:10 AM

Well, this album should be rated with 11 on a 10 scale. Nuff said? No, it's not enough. Times have changed and - even if few 'new' bands have the dynamics of HELSTAR (in their halcyon days) - I feel it as essential to pinpoint the supremacy of this US Metal band. I used to yell at such (re)releases years ago, but viewing the 'era gap' between old and new metalheads I cannot sit out but applause the Sins Of The Past test drive. By all means, the anticipated 'normal' studio album by this legendary name (really, expected…when?) will be the judge. Sins Of The Past can, as well, act the teaser, to inform and to remind.
In their 80s career this Houston, TX, USA quintet released a foursome of beyond-classic albums: Burning Star (1984), Remnants Of War (1986), A Distant Thunder (1988) and Nosferatu (1989). Needless to say, if you claim you like 80s American Metal and don't own all these albums then you can as well proceed to the new NIGHTWISH album review. The astonishing vocals of James Rivera, the 'beyond belief' guitars of Larry Barragan (with Tom Rogers, Robert Trevino or Andre Corbin) and the (any lineup) demonic rhythm section highlighted HELSTAR's powerful approach to the legacy of IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH in the US Power/Epic Metal formula of those days.
Not to neglect the quintet's fifth studio release, 1995's Multiples Of Black, it is obvious those first four albums are sculptured in the Metal book, no questions asked. So, using today's technology, the band - featuring Rivera, Barragan, Trevino and Abarca, meaning 80% of the Remnants Of War lineup! - proceeds to the re-recording of 11 songs of those days. Well, my only moan being the absence of the Run With The Pack eternal hymn, I was initially afraid the 'new era' machinery would disgrace the originals' magic in benefit of some attract-the-juveniles sound. Thankfully, nothing bad this way comes and…the HELSTAR glory is again unveiled in its entirety. Rivera's voice (as widely checked the last years through his DESTINY'S END/VICIOUS RUMORS/NEW EDEN/SEVEN WITCHES/FLOTSAM & JETSAM/KILLING MACHINE deeds - phew…) is as the good ol' wine. Nothing less. The rest of the players are in top notch form as well, plus the vibe is present and crystal clear (as the production itself).
And the story never ends. Two brand new songs are included in this kinda 'best of' compilation. Tormentor features a frenzy double-bass groove, with Rivera singing in his familiar 'epic' style, reminding me of the A Distant Thunder/Nosferatu days. Caress Of The Dead is even wilder, in an archetypal up-tempo vibe, featuring a kick-ass guitar riff work; shit, I love this band and  I really really really hope the new album will be worth the wait.
Not many bands from that era are widely heard in our days. You think MANOWAR and SAVATAGE are the defenders of the 80s US Metal cult? Well, in this case you've never occupied yourself with the ascendancy of HELSTAR: a band that shows how 100% Metal music is performed form the soul. If you have money for all four albums, grab 'em fast and enjoy them in chronological order. You'll configure what 'evolution is not a sellout' means in Metal terms. Else, Sins Of The Past is an excellent way to learn some thing 'bout one of the undying prides of Metal music. That simple.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Burning Star
Suicidal Nightmare
The King Is Dead
Evil Reign
Baptised In Blood
Witch's Eye
Tyrannicide
Harker's Tale
Angel Of Deathe
Dracula's Castle
Face The Wicked One
Tormentor (new song)
Caress Of The Dead (new song)
Lineup:
James Rivera - Vocals
Larry Barragan - Guitars
Rob Trevino - Guitars
Jerry Abarca - Bass, Keyboards
Russell DeLeon - Drums
Record Label: AFM Records
     


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